The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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March 4, 2014

‘Victory 4 Haiti’ to pack up 280,000 meals for hungry kids

Wanted: about 120 tables and 1,600 volunteers.

The organizers of the second meals for Haiti project in Joplin would like to borrow a few tables from local churches and other organizations to set up the work stations where volunteers will assemble the meals — approximately 280,000 of them.

Clifford Wert, of Webb City, an organizer of “Victory 4 Haiti,” said the tables would be labeled so that the organization lending the tables would get them back in good order.

“And we need volunteers to donate two hours of their time to pack the meals,” he said. “We need young and old, families, church members and business owners for this community project to assist in feeding hungry children in Haiti.”

The meals project will take place in two-hour shifts from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 26, at Victory Ministry & Sports Complex, 3405 S. Hammons Blvd., formerly known as The Bridge.

The food-packaging event will provide the meals to the Haitian Christian Mission in the village of Fond-Parisien and elsewhere in Haiti. The 280,000 meals will allow the mission alone to serve more than 2,500 daily meals to school-age children for approximately 90 days.

“Sometimes it’s their only meal,” said Len Clevenger, a Joplin resident who helped organize Joplin’s first meals for Haiti project in April 2011.

In that effort, 285,000 meals were created at a cost of 17 cents per meal. Twenty churches turned out for the event. Because of inflation and other factors, the cost has increased to about 20 cents per meal, said Clevenger, who also is assisting with this relief effort.

The estimated cost of this year’s relief effort is $60,000. That will cover the ingredients, the bags, the sealing and shipping costs.

“We filled a 40-foot container then, and that’s what we want to do again,” Clevenger said. “There are vitamins and nutrients in the food. It’s just not filler. It’s designed for malnourished children.”

Each meal consists of rice, chicken flavoring, dried vegetables, soy meal and nutrients.

Efforts to curb malnutrition in Haiti, the leading cause of death in Haitian children, are proving to be successful in the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake. The Haitian government and its partners scaled up efforts to improve community food and nutrition after the earthquake.

According to UNICEF, studies completed in 2005 and 2012 show that stunting has declined from 28.5 percent to 22.2 percent; wasting has decreased from 10.1 percent to 4.3 percent; and the prevalence of underweight children has declined from 17.7 percent to 10.5 percent.

Wert and others who attended an organizational meeting Monday night at Victory Ministry said an effort will be made to encourage more business and corporate support of the project. Sponsorships are available.

Victory Ministry & Sports Complex is a 501(c)3. All contributions are tax-deductible.


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